5 Simple Ways to Fight Back-to-School Germs

Especially with the rise of the Delta variant, parents are worried about keeping kids healthy this school year.

Kids seem to become walking petri dishes for germs the moment they step inside the classroom, not to mention we’re worried about them getting sick with the rise of the Delta variant during the COVID-19 pandemic. So what’s a paranoid parent to do? Follow our tips for keeping sickness away this fall.

Keep hands washed and away from faces.

Yes, it’s common sense, but even the best parents forget to have their children wash their hands from time to time. Not only should kids wash after going to the bathroom and before meals, but a good scrub after returning home from school or anywhere in public will help keep germ exposure down. Make sure kids are washing for 15-20 seconds with warm water and plenty of soap. It’s also good to keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your purse or car for when you’re on the go.

Despite our best efforts, we can’t always count on little hands staying perfectly clean. That’s why the CDC says it’s important to teach your kids to keep their fingers away from their noses, eyes and mouths, where germs can easily enter their bodies.

Disinfect supplies.

Keeping hands clean is obvious, but don’t neglect other bacteria havens, like backpacks and school supplies. Remember to periodically clean out book bags and lunch boxes and wipe down pens, pencils and other utensils. It’s also not a bad idea to rotate supplies after a few months of use.

Emphasize germ etiquette at school.

We all know someone who has no issues with coughing and sneezing all over the workplace. Teach your kids to not be that person. Let’s say that your little one does come down with a virus, but isn’t sick enough to stay home. Remind them to cough into the crook of their arm, not their hands, and keep tissue at the ready.

Depending on their age, children may be tempted to share items like food, drinks or lip gloss. Make it clear to them that while sharing toys is nice, sharing things that touch your mouth is a no-no.

Get a flu shot.

Experts agree that a flu shot is the most effective way to prevent the nasty flu bug from hitting your home. Kids ages six months and up can receive the vaccine and the CDC says the shot is both safe and effective for pregnant women as well. Since it takes about two weeks for your body to develop flu antibodies, the CDC recommends getting the shot by the end of October so you’re ready for the winter.

Follow the latest COVID-19 precautions.

Especially for unvaccinated children returning to in-person learning this school year, some parents are concerned to keep their kids as safe as possible. The CDC currently recommends for all students and staff for grades K-12 schools to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status. Find more COVID-19 resources and updates for Chicagoland parents.

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